Number 222 / August 2010

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Published by the Open Canoe Sailing Group

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the trip from the barrage at Balloch had taken a little over 1 hours...

It was now more than two hours since high water and the ebb tide was flowing strongly, with the (predicted) result that there was a steep swell in the deeper water of the buoyed main channel of the Firth. Initially we were able to avoid this main channel and the worst of the swell but, as we approached Port Glasgow, the rapidly drying mud and sand banks on the north of the Firth forced us into it.

By this time the Spring tide was flowing at maximum strength against the fresh northwesterly breeze, so sailing conditions became marginal. However, with no easy egress either to the drying northern shore or to the built-up southern shore, we decided to press on. After struggling initially, John was by now making good progress and Andy was handling the conditions well. We kept a close eye on each other and eventually conditions eased as we passed Greenock, where the water deepened and we were able to turn northwest towards our destination.

I arrived at Rosneath Peninsula shortly before 9 pm, 5 hours later than planned, so the sail from Dumbarton had taken over 3 hours, rather than the 2 hours I had expected... After landing and offloading our boats, we helped each other drag them 100 metres or so up the beach to the high water mark and just had time to pitch our tents before nightfall. I had reconnoitred this beach before the start of the expedition so knew there was a small headland to the east of the bay where we could pitch our tents. This proved to be an ideal campsite. It had been a long, tiring day but we all felt pleased to have made it despite the testing conditions.


Monday, 17 May
I woke early (before 6 am). It was a clear morning and the view across the benign-looking Firth of Clyde towards a sun-bathed Greenock was beautiful, so I took a few photos before the others started to stir... The Inshore Waters forecast... was for Force 3-4 winds, gusting to Force 5-6 later, and the 24-hour forecast was also for strong gusts. We therefore decided to change our itinerary and head for Holy Loch on Monday, leaving Gareloch for the following day, since it would be more sheltered. With the advantage of not having to strike camp, we were able to make an earlier start and set off westwards before 10:30 am.

High water was at 3:30 pm and we wanted to make the return crossing before the tide started to ebb, thinking that the southeast wind could again cause swell to build up in the Firth. So we didn't linger in Holy Loch, simply sailing to the western end, where we arrived at 3:20 pm and then immediately returning east. Holy Loch was the site of a US Navy base for 31 years. From Wikipedia: "Between 1961 and 1992, Holy Loch was the site of the United States Navy's FBM Refit Site One". There is now (18 years later) little evidence of the US naval presence - only some large mooring buoys remain... The sail back to the campsite took just over an hour from the mouth of Holy Loch and we arrived before 5 pm. (Continued in October's 'Gossip'.)

If you want to fill in the gaps you can read more on Dave's website.


Lakes Classic - Weather? (JeffB)

Once again the Ullswater Meet proved to be one of the most popular on the calendar, with around 17 boats sailing at various times and very varied durations. The forecast was not promising and the weather was, to say the least, uncooperative. Persistent rain and quite strong winds on Saturday were followed by very strong winds on Sunday. Still, people did get out to sail and so the weekend was not entirely wasted from that point of view.


We had been forewarned that the Ullswater Yacht Club facilities had suffered a great deal of damage due to the extraordinary flooding last November, but the club still seemed to function as efficiently and effectively as before, using an impressive array of Portacabins as temporary accommodation. It was in fact a bit like being on a building site, so it seemed quite normal to me. The move out of the clubhouse was necessary because it seems there were quite a lot of other problems with the building in addition to the flood damage, so it was decided by the club to do a proper job and evacuate the buildings, to give the contractors a free hand when carrying out the repairs.

Those who arrived on Friday evening were able to get a drink in the very cosy bar, which also provided a place to shelter from the torrential rain and to chat. Coincidently this was the day that United Utilities imposed the hosepipe ban in the NW. When we unloaded our boat on arrival in the

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